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The Great Work Begins! All-Star Cast Set for Benefit Performance of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America

By on January 17, 2021

first_imgTony Kushner(Photo by Emilio Madrid for Broadway.com) Jake Gyllenhaal View Comments View All (11) Andrew Rannells Brian Tyree Henry Daphne Rubin-Vega Paul Dano Lois Smithcenter_img Star Files Laura Linney Glenn Close Brandon Uranowitz The great work continues! A benefit reading of scenes from Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic Angels in America will take place on October 8 at 8:30PM ET to benefit amfAR’s Fund to Fight COVID-19. The 60-minute livestream The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America will be exclusively available on Broadway.com’s YouTube channel.Playwright Kushner and director Ellie Heyman have assembled an all-star cast for the event, including Glenn Close, Paul Dano, Linda Emond, Jeremy O. Harris, Brian Tyree Henry, Nikki M. James, Laura Linney, Vella Lovell, Patti LuPone, S. Epatha Merkerson, Larry Owens, Andrew Rannells, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Lois Smith and Brandon Uranowitz. There will also be interstitial appearances from Alan Cumming, Whoopi Goldberg and Jake Gyllenhaal. Visit TheGreatWorkBegins.org for more info on the cast and creative team.“I’m touched and honored that amfAR and the remarkable Ellie Heyman decided to build this evening around Angels,” said Kushner in a statement. “For over 30 years, amfAR has been steadfastly determined to find a cure for AIDS. Like everyone else on the planet (except maybe some people), I’m praying that the novel coronavirus will prove easier to obliterate than HIV. But I know we’ll all do whatever’s required to defeat this scourge, and I know that amfAR, as it always has been, will be there in the heat of battle with us.”The free virtual event will be followed by a live conversation moderated by Broadway.com Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek. The conversation will feature Kushner, Heyman, amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost and several of the performers. They will discuss the play, as well as activism and COVID-19 research. The conversation will offer viewers who make a donation of $100 or more an exclusive opportunity to hear directly from the cast and creative directors about the event and the importance of joining forces to support COVID-19 research.Watch the trailer below!Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:42Loaded: 0.00%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:42 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Nikki M. James Alan Cumminglast_img read more

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Scott Carpenter joins People’s United as senior VP

By on December 31, 2020

first_img[Photo cutline: Scott D. Carpenter, Senior Vice President, Director of Wealth Management and Private Banking, People’ s United Bank] People’ s United Bank announced Monday that Scott D Carpenter has joined People’ s United Bank as Senior Vice President, Director of Wealth Management and Private Banking in Vermont. As Director, Carpenter will oversee all aspects of wealth management and private banking operations. Carpenter succeeds Sylvia MacKinnon who recently announced her retirement. Carpenter will assume his new position in mid-April. Carpenter brings a vast array of expertise from his 32-year banking career. Most recently he held the position of District President with KeyBank in Vermont. Over his banking career with KeyBank, Carpenter held several positions including; Team Leader in Commercial Real Estate, Senior Vice President, Manager of Private Banking and Vice President, Manager of Business Banking. Carpenter also held positions with Boston Trade Bank, Mellon Bank and Shawmut Bank.  ‘ Scott is an accomplished banking professional and a very active member of our community. His 32-years of financial expertise will guide our already successful team of wealth management and private banking professionals to the next level,’ said Jack Barnes, President and CEO of People’ s United Bank. ‘ We are fortunate to have Scott join our team. I am confident he will build on the solid foundation established under Sylvia’ s leadership and continue to provide our clients with the level of customer service they expect and deserve from People’ s United Bank.’  Carpenter holds an MBA in Finance from Northeastern University and a BA in Economics from St Lawrence University. In addition, he holds his Series 7 license.Carpenter is very active in the community and has served on several boards and committees. His involvement currently and in the recent past includes; Boys and Girls Club of Burlington Honorary Board Member, Champlain College Board of Trustees, Vermont Business Roundtable, FreshTracks I, LLC Advisory Board, ECHO Science Center Board, RunVermont Board, Vermont Bar Foundation Board, SBA Advisory Board, Lake Champlain Chamber Board, Mt. Mansfield Winter Academy Board, Vermont Banker’ s Association Executive Committee and the American Cancer Society Board. About People’ s United BankPeople’s United Bank is a subsidiary of People’s United Financial, Inc., a diversified financial services company with $30 billion in assets. People’ s United Bank, founded in 1842, is the largest independent bank headquartered in New England and provides commercial and retail banking, as well as wealth management services through a network of approximately 419 branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and Maine. Through its subsidiaries, People’s United Financial provides equipment financing, brokerage and insurance services.last_img read more

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Governor says Enterprise Fund investments more than pay for themselves

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first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has released its statutorily-required report on the impact of the Vermont Enterprise Fund, showing that in addition to creating hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, the $1.7 million in investments will more than pay for themselves by returning $3.5 million in state revenues over the next five years. According to the report, the allocation of funding from the Enterprise Fund for three projects will help retain Vermont’s largest private sector employer and one of Central Vermont’s largest employer’s, as well as recruit a new employer to the Northeast Kingdom.  The VEF investment will leverage private sector investments in Vermont totaling over $92 million including new payroll and capital expenditures over the next five years. The projects will also create 248 direct full-time jobs. This investment and job creation will result in about 326 indirect and induced jobs, for a total job creation impact of 574 jobs. The net increase in state revenues over five years would exceed $3.5 million, according to the report.“I firmly believe that the Vermont Enterprise Fund is an economic development resource that we must continue to make available to new and expanding companies,” Governor Peter Shumlin said.  “This fund is exactly the type of Vermont-scale business growth tool that we need in our great state.”RELATED STORIES:Quebec manufacturer to expand in St Johnsbury, gets nearly $900,000 in state financingEmergency Board approves using $1 million from Enterprise Fund to support GlobalFoundriesShumlin wants to use $700,000 from Enterprise Fund to create over 120 jobsOn January 8, 2016, the Emergency Board approved, based on the recommendation of Governor Shumlin, to allocate $1 million from the Vermont Enterprise Fund to support the continued growth of GlobalFoundries, which employs about 3,000 in Vermont. GlobalFoundries will be investing $72 million dollars in capital expenditures as well as converting 100 temporary jobs to full time permanent jobs at higher wages and with better benefits. This commitment further solidifies GlobalFoundries’ presence in Vermont, Shumlin said. The Enterprise Funds will be used to make investments in efficiencies at the Essex facility.Also on January 8, 2016, the Emergency Board approved  $200,000 for Composites BHS(link is external), a Sherbrooke-based manufacturer, which has selected St Johnsbury for its expansion into the United States. The company will locate in the St Johnsbury-Lyndonville Industrial Park in an existing building. Brenan Reihle, CEO of GW Plastics. VBM file photo.Last October, GW Plastics in Bethel/Royalton received $500,000 from the fund. GW will add up to 73 new jobs and BHS Composites will create approximately 75 over 5 years. Both of these companies, the governor said, considered other states for their expansions. GW currently employs over 300 full-time workers and is the largest manufacturing employer in the region. Due to ongoing growth, the company has no available manufacturing space in its Vermont locations. The expansion need is being driven by a recently awarded contract with a new customer. The governor said GW had several options for growth, including current facilities in Texas, Arizona, Mexico, China, and had looked at a site in New Hampshire.Commerce Secretary Patricia Moulton said, “As an economic development professional, having the VEF available to help close deals is incredibly valuable. We will never compete with other states’ deal closing funds, but our strong suite of incentives, including the Enterprise Fund, VEGI and the Vermont Training Program, is proving to be very valuable.”The Vermont Enterprise Fund was established in 2014 to allow the state to act quickly to attract or retain jobs around the state. According to the governor, the fund now has a balance of $400,000.last_img read more

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Weak yen boosts buoyant sales for Shimano in 2014

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first_imgIn its Q3 2014 financial report, bicycle components & groupset specialist Shimano has commented on the political and economic backdrop it faces – with the first nine months of 2014 witnessing a deterioration in business sentiment across Europe and a weakening of personal consumption in Japan, which has had a consumption tax increase.On the other hand, the depreciation of the Japanese yen boosted exports; and in the US, Shimano noted that corporate earnings and the labour market continued to improve and personal consumption has picked up.As a result, for the first nine months of 2014, Shimano’s net sales increased 20.8% year on year to ¥241,012 million (US$2.1 billion). Operating income increased 54.5% to ¥47,969 million (US$425 million).Focusing on its bicycle components activities, which account for a majority 82% of all Shimano operations (the remainder predominantly coming from sales of fishing tackle), the company has witnessed some positive trends.Overall, sales from this segment increased 23.4% year on year to ¥196,437 million (US$1.7 billion, and operating income increased 53.5% to ¥44,707 million (US$396 million).In Europe, despite a temporary decrease in retail sales owing to unsettled weather in August and September, Shimano notes that revenues have generally been buoyant since last winter, which was mild. In the US, which experienced an extremely harsh winter, despite a delay in the commencement of sales, retail sales have been generally brisk since spring and ‘comparable to the level in a typical year’.In Japan, despite a severe winter, retail sales of sports bicycles and mid-range and high-grade community bicycles have been robust, even after the consumption tax increase. Sales of community bicycles, however, have weakened somewhat.Sales of sports bicycles continued to grow in China, and sales growth in other emerging markets was also robust.Distributor and retailer inventories were relatively low, or in an appropriate range, in all regions. In these market conditions, against a backdrop of rising expectations in view of promising market trends looking forward, order-taking was brisk as Shimano products were relatively affordable because of the depreciation of the yen.Moreover, sales of new disk brakes for road bikes released in the third quarter were buoyant, as well as new models released in the second quarter, including ALIVIO mountain bike components, Tourney TX entry-level mountain bike components, and 105 road bike components.As a result, Shimano has revised its forecast of consolidated business performance. With a slight increase on the previous forecast announced in July 2014, total consolidated net sales are forecast to reach ¥316,000 million (US$2.1 billion), with operating income of ¥61,000 million (US$540 million) and net income of ¥44,000 million (US$390 million).www.shimano.com Relatedlast_img read more

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15 years of the Rab Fair

By on November 20, 2020

first_imgThis year from The jubilee 25th Rab Fair is held from 27 to 15 July, the first and largest medieval festival that every year the town of Rab takes back to the past dating back to pre-Roman times.Rab Fair brings a breath of the past and celebrates freedom, every street takes on a breath of atmosphere – celebration, happiness, good vibes, while every place on the island has its own flag, which colors the center of Rab as it prepares to dive into the past. This tradition began in 1364, when the first Summer Festival or fair was held as a celebration of the liberation from Venice, in honor of Louis the Great, who declared Rab a free municipality. That day is also dedicated to St. Christopher, the patron saint of the town of Rab.Undoubtedly one of the most attractive summer events in Croatia, the city of Rab turns into a big stage that hosts a three-day event of reviving medieval history and customs. This tradition is still maintained today, and the celebration is joined by many local artisans who show there the diversity of local products. The tradition of knightly games has also been revived, so you can see the competition of Rab crossbowmen, costumes from the Middle Ages and taste delicacies that are prepared according to the original recipe from the 14th century. The whole city turns into a big stage and a folk celebration where you can see traditional, artistic and craft works.The whole festival gets its finale on the third day of the fair, on July 27, with the inevitable knights’ tournament. The ceremonial parade and archery competition of the Rab knights will surely delight everyone present. The smell of freshly fried snails spreads through the air, while the entire fishing village, built entirely with traditional tools, springs up on the beach, even toys for children. The streets resound with song and music as passers-by are offered tuna, fritters, cheese and wine.In the end, we can say only one thing – a phenomenal tourist story in which the whole city really turns into a medieval city and with a stage spectacle offers local and indigenous products packed into a great story.last_img read more

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CDC joins WHO push for better hand hygiene in healthcare

By on November 18, 2020

first_imgMay 4, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – A day before the May 5 call toaction from the World Health Organization (WHO) to improve hand hygienepractices in healthcare workers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) held a clinicians teleconference on the topic and said it would unveil anew online resource tomorrow as part of the day’s events.The WHO is in its second year of a “Save Lives: CleanYour Hands Campaign,” a global effort to help clinicians improve handhygiene to reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Tobuild support for the campaign, the WHO has said it hopes to register 10,000healthcare facilities to participate in the movement by May 5. As of Apr 23,8,173 had registered, according to the WHO.Katherine Ellingson, PhD, an epidemiologist with the CDC,told clinician participants at today’s teleconference that the WHO is holdingthe event on May 5 to symbolize five fingers on the hand as well as thecampaign’s “My Five Moments for Hand Hygiene” list, which urgeshealthcare workers to clean their hands:before touching a patient,before clean/aseptic procedures,after body fluid exposure/risk,after touching a patient, andafter touching patient surroundings.Ellingson said good hand hygiene practices are the best wayto prevent HAI, but adherence is generally low, ranging around 40%. “Thisis a good time to take stock,” she said. She added it can be difficultstrike the right balance with hand hygiene messages and recommendations. Soapand water is a mainstay and is effective against a range of pathogens, whilealcohol-based rubs have boosted adherence but are not as effective againstcertain spores, such as that of Clostridium difficile, rapidly gaining as an HAI source.The CDC’s hand hygiene experts have fielded lots ofquestions about pandemic H1N1 flu, Ellingson said. Though there is littleresearch on hand-washing as a means of reducing contact transmission of thepandemic H1N1 virus, she said the CDC’s community-setting hand hygienerecommendation—wash hands often with soap and water—was based on evidence ofcontact transmission of respiratory viruses and the method’s efficacy againstflu viruses.Though alcohol-based products are the CDC’s preferred form ofhand sanitizer, she said some makers of non-alcohol-based products wereaggressive in marketing their products as effective against the pandemic virus.Ellingson told the group that some producers received warning letters from theUS Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Five hand sanitizer companies are on theFDA’s list of firms that made fraudulent 2009 H1N1 products.Infection control experts are always looking for new toolsto improve hand hygiene adherence in medical facilities, she said. For example,she pointed to iScrub, an application for iPhones and iPod Touches that helpspersonnel to easily and discreetly record and compile their observations onhand hygiene practices.The application is still in the pilot phase and is part of aresearch project by the University of Iowa’s computational epidemiology group.Christopher Hlady, a doctoral candidate with the program, told clinicians thatthe project’s budget constraints so far have limited application development tojust the Apple devices, but the group is considering developing versions forother hand-held devices. A basic version of iScrub is available for free onApple’s iTunes store. The Iowa group is also working on an expanded versionthat offers more customization and data analysis options.Ellingson said other cutting-edge technologies are beingused to track hand-hygiene adherence, such as monitoring devices that trackusage of, for example, hand sanitizer. “There’s a whole industry that hasdeveloped around monitoring,” she said.She urged participants to check the CDC’s hand hygiene Website tomorrow for new resources, including a video on patient empowerment, arelatively new tool in the fight against HAI, which urges patients to monitortheir healthcare team’s hand hygiene measures and to voice concerns when theydon’t see them washing their hands before patient contact.See also:Background information on WHO May 5 hand hygiene campaigneventshttp://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/en/CDC hand hygiene Web pagehttp://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.htmlUniversity of Iowa iScrub Web pagehttp://compepi.cs.uiowa.edu/index.php/Research/IScrubFDA list of fraudulent pandemic H1N1 productshttp://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/h1n1flu/#HandSanitizerCDC clinicians conference call informationlast_img read more

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Province gets behind e-learning

By on September 28, 2020

first_imgNABEELAH MOHEDEENGiven the increase in the amount of pupils in the Western Cape, government will never be able to afford the number of teachers needed in the province, therefore e-learning will become an integrated part of learning in our schools. So said premier Helen Zille in her state of the province address recently, singling out Eros Primary School in Athlone, which caters for pupils who have specific learning difficulties or are physically challenged by cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or genetic conditions, as an example where e-learning is already yielding results.Ms Zille said the province is allocating major resources behind e-learning because they understand the importance of connectivity among young people. “We understand the importance of connectivity in creating opportunity and opening up a world of knowledge for more young people. We also know that the way in which young people interact, engage and learn is changing. That is why we are putting major resources behind e-learning. Specifically, we are working to enhance the teaching and learning experience, predominantly in maths and languages, of all Western Cape pupils through the use of technology.”Speaking to the Athlone News, Joelene Juries, head of Eros School’s foundation phase, said e-learning has helped her to get away from the usual classroom learning and is especially a help for pupils who struggle with their speech.“In 1980 we received computers from different universities because we needed it for our pupils. We used typewriters and tape recorders which assisted the pupils to get their matric certificates. Our old overhead projector has now been replaced with a data projector and a visualiser to get away from ordinary classroom learning,” said Ms Juries.“Some of the pupils who cannot speak properly use the screen to select the toilet symbol to show me that they need to use the toilet, so it assists with their communication skills.”Eros School now has 14 smart classrooms which consists of a laptop, a data projector, a Mimio interactive teaching device, and a visualiser. The pupils are able to select labels on a diagram with the Mimio device, and manipulate the content to the way they understand it. It allows the action of repetitive work which the pupils need in order to remember their work. The smart classrooms also allow for visual stimulation which according to the teachers helps a lot because it is better for the pupils to see a moving object rather than to hear someone repeating it. “It allows for greater visual and auditory stimulation. Pupils can see the variety of colours and hear the sound on the clips. They can connect to the internet and research content they are learning at that time. They can do quizzes, puzzles, and we can give them immediate feedback on their work. Because they can interact with the technology themselves it makes it more real for them. It motivates them to do better and push themselves to get past their problems. Each time they do a a puzzle or quiz it becomes easier to complete.“Some of the challenges, however, is that we need a technician at the school to be available in case we need to ask him something about the equipment so that the lessons can run smoothly. “Another school who uses smart classroom technology is Mary Harding Training Centre in Athlone. The school started using interactive whiteboards three years ago and caters for intellectually disabled pupils.Intermediate phase teacher Edward Ontong, said the interactive whiteboards allow the pupils to move shapes around, write text, and move figures on the board. “At the moment we are doing the theme ‘time’ so we have a clock on the board.The pupils can move the arms of the clock to whatever time it is and write what the digital time is.“Our pupils respond very well to visual moving images, it is more effective than hearing it from someone’s mouth. The boards help them with writing and reading because they can do it over and over which increases their memory. Ten of our classrooms now have interactive whiteboards,” Mr Ontong said. Foundation phase teacher Jonathan Gordon said the white board helps the pupils with their writing skills and is very user-friendly. “Pupils can write on the board in their handwriting and if it is untidy the white board will convert it to neater handwriting. We use a Mimio pen which is a two piece device which can be used to select objects on the board. “The docking station with the other part of the device detects where the pen is and what is it doing,” said Mr Gordon. “The pupils love their smart classrooms. They immediately get excited when the board is switched on. Because of their 5-6 minute attention span they need visual stimulation to keep them attentive. This is a very good tool to have in the class because it helps the teachers a lot. It has all the editing facilities like a normal computer,” Mr Gordan said.Ms Zille said the government aims to have free high speed internet available in all schools by the end of 2016. “We delivered over 3300 smart classrooms in the 2014/15 financial year and will have delivered a great deal more by the end of this financial year in April,” she said.last_img read more

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Thousands flee wildfires burning in the US and Canada

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first_img SHARE Thousands flee wildfires burning in the US and Canada OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) Wildfires barreled across the baking landscape of the western U.S. and Canada, destroying a smattering of homes, forcing thousands to flee and temporarily trapping children and counselors at a California campground.Here’s a look at the wildfires blackening the West.CaliforniaTwo major wildfires in California have sent nearly 8,000 people fleeing to safety.About 4,000 people evacuated and another 7,400 were told to prepare to leave their homes as fire swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles north of Sacramento, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday.The fire burned nearly 8 square miles (20 sq. kilometers), destroyed at least 10 structures and damaged critical infrastructure, leading Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency to provide assistance to local authorities.Fire spokeswoman Mary Ann Aldrich said additional homes were destroyed overnight. An inspection team is trying to determine the extent of the damage.The area burning was about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Oroville, where spillways in the nation’s tallest dam began crumbling from heavy rains this winter and led to temporary evacuation orders for 200,000 residents downstream.In Southern California, at least 3,500 people evacuated as two fires exploded in size at separate ends of Santa Barbara County and a third one threatened homes near a town in San Luis Obispo County.One of the fires grew to 12 square miles (31 square kilometers), traversing a mountain range and heading south toward coastal Goleta.There was minimal containment and flames shut down State Route 154, which is expected to remain closed for days. At least 20 structures burned, but officials didn’t say if they were homes.Sarah Gustafson, who moved from Washington to California seven months ago, was out running errands when she saw the pillar of smoke rising near her home. She rushed to retrieve her six cats and then spent the night at a Red Cross shelter.“It was terrifying,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The sky was orange and black, you could see flames up on the ridge.”About 90 children and 50 counselors were stuck Saturday at the Circle V Ranch and had to take shelter until they could be safely evacuated. Buildings have burned but officials weren’t yet sure if they were homes.Crews were also using an air attack against another blaze about 50 miles north that exploded in size to 37.5 square miles (97 square kilometers). About 200 rural homes east of Santa Maria were evacuated after the fire broke out Saturday and was fed by dry gusts.Some of the firefighters working to contain that blaze were sent to nearby San Luis Obispo county when a fire broke out Sunday and threatened numerous structures near the town of Santa Margarita. Officials said the fire burned at least 200 acres.Elsewhere in the WestFirefighters have been able to build containment lines around about half the wildfire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of people near Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire has not spread since it broke out Wednesday and was still less than a square mile (about one-third square kilometer) Sunday.In rural Arizona, fire officials say three homes were among 10 buildings that were burned. The wildfire there has led to the evacuation of the entire town of Dudleyville, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix.A wildfire burning in near Summer Lake in south-central Oregon has destroyed a hunting cabin and an outbuilding.And in Nevada, fire officials have ordered evacuations for a wildfire that is near the same area where another blaze has already burned for days.British ColumbiaFirefighters were contending with more than 200 wildfires burning in British Columbia that had destroyed dozens of buildings, including several homes and two airport hangars. The three biggest fires, which ranged in size from 5 to 8 square miles (14 to 20 square kilometers), had forced thousands of people to flee.“We are just, in many ways, at the beginning of the worst part of the fire season and we watch the weather, we watch the wind, and we pray for rain,” outgoing Premier Christy Clark told reporters in Kamloops.Rob Schweizer, manager of the Kamloops Fire Centre, said it had been an unprecedented 24 hours.“We probably haven’t seen this sort of activity that involves so many residences and people in the history of the province of B.C.,” he said. Published: July 9, 2017 9:26 PM EDT center_img Author: Associated Press Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.last_img read more

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Slater and Gordon share price plummets after Quindell FCA probe

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first_imgAustralian firm Slater and Gordon has insisted there are no question marks over its acquisition of Quindell files – despite the UK company being investigated by financial regulators over historic accounting practices.Slater and Gordon released a statement to the Australian stock exchange today in a bid to reassure investors following yesterday’s news that the UK Financial Conduct Authority will probe Quindell.But the announcement appeared to do little to ease concerns among shareholders as Slater’s share price tumbled 17% in a day.Slater and Gordon said the FCA investigation relates to ‘historical statements’ made by Quindell in 2013 and 2014. The firm, which earlier this year acquired Quindell’s professional services division for £637m, reiterated that its due diligence on the deal had focused on ‘underlying assets’ rather than public statements from the UK company.The Slater and Gordon statement said: ‘Slater and Gordon has been aware of the concerns raised publicly in relation to the accounting policies of Quindell at all stages of its engagement with Quindell.‘Slater and Gordon remains confident in both its due diligence enquiries underpinned by asset-level due diligence into 8,000 cases by 70 lawyers over six weeks and its accounting policies which reflect historical evidentiary experience of case-file resolution in Australia and the UK.’The statement revealed that, as part of its due diligence, annual revenue for the Quindell division was restated under Slater and Gordon accounting policies from £645m to £368m.This is the second time in two days that the Australian firm, which holds around 12% of the UK personal injury market, has been moved to publicly reassure shareholders.Yesterday the firm moved to deny reports it is being investigated by regulators in Australia over its relationship with auditor Pitcher Partners.In a statement to the Australian stock exchange, the firm said it had not received any ‘targeted enquiries’ from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.The £637m buyout of Quindell’s professional services division was completed earlier this month after the FCA approved the deal.Slater and Gordon has said it expects the deal to boost earnings per share by 30% in the first full year of ownership.last_img read more

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Microsoft highlights in-house importance

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first_imgTechnology giant Microsoft has expanded the role of its general counsel in a move that highlights the growing importance of its in-house legal function.Brad Smith (pictured) will take on the title of president and chief legal officer. He will remain general counsel.Microsoft chief executive Nadella Satya said Smith will play a ‘bigger role in strengthening our external relationships and representing the company publicly.‘I’ll also look to him internally to partner with others on the [senior leadership team] to lead the work needed to accelerate initiatives that are important to our mission and reputation such as privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion.’The firm’s ‘leadership’ team will take on additional day-to-day legal responsibilities ‘to free up a portion of [Smith’s] time and focus’, Satya said.Smith joined Microsoft in 1993. He spent three years leading the firm’s legal and corporate affairs team in Europe, followed by five years as deputy general counsel responsible for legal and corporate affairs teams outside the US. He became general counsel in 2002.According to the company’s website, Smith played a ‘leading role’ within Microsoft and in the IT sector on government surveillance, privacy, intellectual property, immigration and computer science education policy issues.Microsoft is currently fighting a US government attempt to force it to allow access to a customer’s email stored in the firm’s Irish datacentre. The case, which reached a federal appeals court in New York this month, is being widely watched by technology companies and online privacy advocates.‘In a nutshell, this case is about how we best protect privacy, ensure that governments keep people safe, and respect national sovereignty while preserving the global nature of the internet,’ Smith said.last_img read more

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